If you want to start winning again, our culture, our politics, and even life, then we need to get a lot better at incorporating emotions into our arguments.
One of the reasons we lost ground in our culture is because we failed to effectively use emotions in arguments.
In our movement, there is a saying that facts don’t care about your feelings, but modern culture has demonstrated that for too many people their feelings don’t care about the facts.
This makes sense since it’s emotions that drive action. And for too long conservatives have neglected the importance of emotions in our political arguments.
Masters of Manipulation
The left has become masters of manipulating emotion to convince people of the validity of their arguments. The validity comes from the fact that they feel like a better person for taking a position, regardless of whether it fixes the problem or not. In fact, the positions the Left takes often make the problems worse or make it continue longer than it needs to.
Take the typical Leftist Virtue Signaling social media post. I just want all of you people of x group to know that I am an ally. And I hate myself because people who looked like me in the past hurt people who looked like you. Now x group isn’t really any better off. It doesn’t matter that they just reinforced the idea that people are out to get them and want them to suffer, which leads to a fatalistic and/or defeated mindset. It’s all good but our Virtue Signaler raised his status and feels good about himself.
Conservatives see that and reject it as selfish and wrong. But we ignore the emotions that lead to that behavior instead of changing the circumstance so that people feel good doing things that actually help.
The word for that is specious. The fact is, that the conservative position is usually the most compassionate. We need to get better at framing arguments to be the compassionate moral choice. It’s just conservative values are based on Judeo-Christian values so they are almost exclusively the more compassionate and moral choice.
Redefining Conservative Arguments
An unfortunate point is it’s not always obvious why the conservative position is more compassionate or moral. Typically, conservative values are about reining in emotions that lead to actions that can cause a difficult life. In fact, it could be said that churches were our first schools for emotional intelligence.
Left has become good at discounting conservative values because they are based on Judeo-Christian teachings. It will say they don’t believe in your Bible, so your rules don’t apply to them. Too often conservatives use the Bible to justify their positions. And while the Bible is a good source of teaching about good values it is not convincing to someone who does not believe.
This requires conservatives to dig deeper, and those teachings define the deeper, human meaning behind these teachings. God and his prophets gave these commandments and exhortations because they lead to a better life.
It’s based on an understanding of human motivation. We know that if you punish something you get less of it. If you take away the punishment you get more of it. We know that if you pay people not to work, they won’t work. We know that if you take away the incentive to work then people won’t work. That is why conservatives understand that socialism is always doomed to fail and liberals don’t.
We realize that if you break people up into group identities, you are going to cause great resentment and suffering. It’s clear to us that it divides people and pits them against each other.
We understand that actually fixing something takes a lot more than standing up and saying that you are against the problem. You need to take time to understand the problem and take actions that will actually fix it. It also means that if your plan is not working then you need to reevaluate the situation and try something different.
Conservatism is Compassion
Every conservative position is the compassionate and moral position. We just need to evaluate why it is that way and learn to better articulate it. The left wins far too many times because they couch the argument as compassionate, regardless of it’s true or not.
Everybody wants to be the good guy. They don’t want to look like a jerk or uncompassionate. So, they take the leftist position to feel good about themselves and improve their social status.
We use facts to inform our positions. If the facts do not match up with their positions, then we modify our positions to align with the objective truth.
So, we know the facts are on our side, now we just need to craft arguments so that’s their feelings match up with the facts. If we can get good at this, then we can take our culture back and improve our lives and that of our fellow citizens.